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International Summer School, Yonsei University

- Summer

This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.

While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.

Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).

Contact Information

Program Specialist
Emma Holmes 
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail:
Program Advisor
Michelle Hertig
Phone: (805) 893-2831; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Jessica Muscat
Phone: (805) 893-2598; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Janet Kennedy
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583

UCEAP Online

Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.

Study Center Abroad

A local faculty member, who serves as the UCEAP Liaison Officer, administers UCEAP programs at Yonsei University along with a Study Center Coordinator. They advise students on academic matters, provide information on cultural events, assist with program logistics, and provide support with personal matters.
Prof. John Frankl, Liaison Professor
UCEAP Korea, Seoul Study Center
Room B133, The Commons
Yonsei University,
50 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul, Korea
Ms. Joey Choi, Study Center Coordinator
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-82-2) 2123-4713
Emergency cell phone: (011-82-10) 4202-4715

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code . . . . . . . . . . . . .011
(dial this to call outside the U.S.)
Korea country code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
Seoul city code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Approximate Time Difference

Add 17 hours
Academic Information
Program Overview
The six-week summer program at Yonsei International Summer School (YISS) offers courses taught in English on a variety of subjects. Course information is on the Yonsei University website.
Courses offered in the four-week program are not open to UCEAP students.
The courses are added to the MyEAP course catalog in April or May so you can see which subject areas have been assigned to the courses and if they are upper or lower division.
Korean language study is recommended but not required. Language classes are offered at six levels from beginning to advanced and concentrate on developing Korean language comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar skills. Classes are held Monday through Thursday for three hours per day.
Other classes are held Monday through Thursday with each class meeting for two hours per day.
Attendance is mandatory; if you are absent from a certain number of classes, you will receive an automatic F. In many cases, this is three absences.


  • Attendance at all YISS and UCEAP mandatory orientations
  • Language placement test on the first day of the program if you intend to take a language course (no makeup exams are offered). If you are a beginner, you will go to the placement exam and put your name on the exam to indicate your interest in taking beginning Korean language. 
  • Minimum of 9 UC quarter units (two courses); maximum of 13.5 units (three courses)
  • All courses must be taken for the full units (4.5 UC quarter units); the variable unit option is not available
  • If you take three courses, you may take one course on the P/NP basis. If you take two courses, both must be taken for a letter grade, unless one is an internship or research course which is graded P/NP only. 
  • Completion of the MyEAP Study List and confirmation by the Study Center. Any changes made in your YISS course registration must also be made with the UCEAP Study Center either in MyEAP online or by General Petition.
  • You are also responsible for meeting all YISS deadlines and requirements.



UC quarter units are calculated by multiplying Yonsei University units by 1.5. Summer courses are 3 Yonsei University units.
3 Yonsei units = 4.5 UC quarter units = 3 UC semester units


  • You will receive course preregistration instructions by email about two months before departure.
  • Internship results will be announced before the course registration deadline.
  • Final registration takes place after arrival. The add/drop period is two or three days.


Financial Aid Minimum Unit Requirements

UCEAP allows students in the UCEAP Korea summer program to take either 9 UC quarter units (two courses) or 13.5 UC quarter units (three courses); however, the minimum unit requirement for UC summer funding varies by UC campus.
If you are a financial aid recipient, contact your UC campus financial aid advisor for your minimum unit requirement based on your individual financial aid award prior to departure. The UCEAP Study Center staff in Korea cannot advise you on financial aid matters.
If you take two courses and your financial aid award requires you to take three courses, you will be required to pay back any over-award of financial aid. This amount will vary by student.
If you are accepted to take an internship or research course, you will only be allowed to take one additional course. This can affect your financial aid.
UCEAP fees for this program are based on 13.5 UC quarter units; however, if you choose to take 9 UC quarter units, your fees will not be reduced.
Academic Culture
Korean academic culture is grounded in Confucian educational tradition. Respect for teachers and university rules, including attending all orientation sessions, classes, and other announced functions, is essential. Students are expected to be appreciative, polite, and moderate—not demanding or argumentative—in questioning the opinions of professors or fellow students. Be prepared to modify your own expectations and conform to Korean norms.
For a successful and rewarding academic experience, be proactive and fully engaged in guiding your own education. Before departure, outline educational objectives to help guide your course selection, readings, and other activities. Do not rely solely on classes and professors to define or structure the educational goals that you expect to achieve. Classes are only the beginning of academic inquiry, not the entire academic experience. Systematic observation, reading, and writing in subject areas of interest can help turn even an ordinary class into a base for serious academic work and significant learning.
The size of Yonsei University classes varies with the popularity of the subject. Classes offered in English are relatively small and are taught mostly in the lecture format. Language classes average 12 students.
Many instructors provide syllabi and focus on delivering lectures, but some also encourage discussion and the use of the Internet for class work. The classroom atmosphere can be interactive, but remember to be polite and respectful of the instructor and your fellow students. Teamwork among students is an important aspect of some courses and group presentations are frequently required, particularly in business courses. Engage in your academic activities, join discussions, and form study groups.
Faculty members in Korea rarely keep regular office hours, but you may contact a professor by e-mail to set up a meeting. The e-mail address is normally noted on the course syllabus. If you can’t find the contact information, staff at the UCEAP Seoul Study Center will help you find the appropriate way to contact professors.
Many Yonsei faculty members are Western educated and, while respecting traditional Korean customs, incorporate the exchange of ideas in the classroom. Some professors may be traditional in their classroom approach, so be sensitive to the style of each instructor.
Instructors in courses taught in English do not always speak in the familiar American style and some may have accents that are difficult to understand, especially at first. Accepting this as a challenge rather than a frustration will enhance the experience of studying with these instructors, many of whom are highly recognized scholars in their fields, prominent professionals, government policy makers, and consultants in prestigious firms.
Course Information
Seoul is a vibrant city and can be a serious distraction for students. Make sure to prioritize between academic responsibilities and extracurricular social activities.
Your work will be assessed primarily by exams, but many courses also include attendance, term papers, group and individual projects, and class presentations.
Attendance is required. If you miss a certain number of classes (usually 3), you will receive an F for the course.
Korean language courses require serious concentration and diligent study. Grading in the language courses usually is more rigorous than what you may have experienced at your UC campus.
Grades for this program are usually available in mid to late September.
 For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
​Yonsei International Summer School (YISS) has a summer internship program that offers corporate and research internships for academic credit. Space is limited and the program is very competitive. The internships are 3 YISS units (4.5 UC quarter units) and count as one course. They are graded on the P/NP basis only. 
You are only allowed to enroll in one additional course if participating in an internship. This is a YISS limitation. If you are placed in an internship, you will be expected to work 20 hours per week over the 6 weeks for a total of 120 hours. 
Students are informed of acceptance into internship or research opportunities in early June prior to YISS course registration. 
Other internship or research opportunities for academic credit are not possible in this short summer program.
You should not expect to have enough time to do an internship for non-academic credit.
See the YISS internship website for details.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Extending your UCEAP participation in Korea is possible. UCEAP encourages you to extend participation to the next term. Approval of extension is based on academic performance, the support of your UC campus department, and available space at Yonsei University.
Before departure, submit an approved Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form to your Campus EAP Office. Submitting the approved DPA does not obligate you to extend or guarantee extension, but the DPA will expedite the process if you decide to extend.
To extend from the Yonsei International Summer School to the fall or year programs, you must have a 3.0 GPA, must have a DPA on file with UCEAP, and must declare your intention to extend during the first two weeks of the summer program. Yonsei will not consider extensions filed after that period.
Once your extension has been approved, notification will be sent to your UC campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take, see the Extension of Participation chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extension for more than two semesters is not possible. You may participate in multiple summer programs.
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself

Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites, such as Lonely Planet, are excellent resources. You will also need to understand the local culture and history and keep up with current events. These sources should help you prepare before departure.

Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation

You are responsible for making your own transportation arrangements to and from Korea (even if you receive financial aid) and for arriving on the Official UCEAP Start Date. This includes reserving and purchasing airline tickets (purchase a changeable ticket). Standby tickets are not acceptable.
Program dates and arrival information are posted on the UCEAP website. Failure to appear on the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Student Conduct section). When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
The Official Arrival and Start Date can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications to your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for unrecoverable transportation charges you may incur for travel arrangements. To stay informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes to your contact information (mailing address, e-mail, and phone number).
The programs officially begin with two mandatory orientations in Korea by Yonsei and UCEAP that cover:
  • Introduction to Korean culture and information about the university
  • The academic program and how to complete and submit your MyEAP Study List
  • Internships and volunteer opportunities
  • UCEAP field trips, cultural activities, daily living, tips from previous students
  • Housing
  • Health and Safety
  • Emergency Preparedness
Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory and you are responsible for following up with all procedures and deadlines.
Travel Planning
​Additional information about passports, visas, and other required documents is provided in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist.
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
You must arrive on the Official Start Date of the program.  Incheon International Airport is 90 minutes from Seoul, and most students take the limousine bus from the airport to Yonsei. From the bus stop, it is a 10-minute walk to the dorm. Detailed arrival instructions and maps are provided before departure in the Pre-Departure Checklist. Prepare to pay with Korean won for your transportation from the airport.
Early check-in is not permitted. If you arrive in Seoul prior to the arrival date, make hotel reservations or arrangements with your family and friends.
Program dates and arrival information are posted on the UCEAP website. Failure to appear by the Official Start Date is cause for dismissal from the program (per Student Agreement, Arrival Information). When traveling, always carry your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money. Never put valuables in your checked luggage.
The program dates can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications to your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any non-recoverable transportation charges you may incur for travel arrangements. To stay informed of program changes, update MyEAP with any changes to your contact information (mailing address, e-mail, and phone number).

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
Travel Documents

Student Visa

Students with a valid Korean passport are not required to obtain a visa.
Summer program participants do not need a visa to enter Korea. U.S. citizens in possession of a valid U.S. passport can visit Korea without a visa for a duration of up to 90 days or less for study.
For the fall, year, and spring programs, you must obtain a Student (D-2) Visa prior to entering Korea. A Korean student visa is an endorsement placed in your passport by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea. The visa grants you permission to enter and reside in Korea for the purpose of study.

Non-U.S. Citizens

If you are not a citizen of the U.S., special travel restrictions or requirements may apply to you. Contact the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea for visa information and entry regulations.

Male Korean Citizens

If you are a male Korean citizen between the ages of 18 and 35, you may be eligible for the draft and required military service. Prior to departing the U.S., you must research this further with the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea and Military Manpower Administration. Report your exchange student status when you enter Korea. You will be eligible for military service even if you have dual citizenship. Make sure you understand your status prior to arrival.

U.S. Travel Registration

Register online with the U.S. Department of State as soon as your flight plans are known. Registration is free and it allows the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to assist you and provide information in case of difficulty or an emergency while abroad.

Important Documents

Scan all important documents, including passport photo pages, vaccination certificates, travelers check receipts, airline tickets, student ID, birth certificate, credit cards (front and back), etc., then email them to yourself. Spending a few moments scanning documents now can save time and energy if something is lost or stolen.

Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students

Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Berkeley, contact the Undocumented Student Program

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
Just about everything is available for purchase in Korea.


  • One formal outfit (for class presentations, formal lectures, interviews, and the UCEAP farewell banquet)
  • Personal care and hygiene products (especially preferred brands)
  • Vitamins and medications (see the Staying Healthy chapter of this guide)
  • Travel guide with a detailed map of Seoul
  • Slippers
  • Laptop
  • Thick windproof jacket, scarf and mittens for winter days
  • Toilet paper for first few days in dorms


  • Rain boots and an umbrella (highly recommended)
  • Athletic gear (including a swimsuit)
  • Costco card (there are several throughout Seoul)
  • Gifts for foreign hosts and new friends (suggestions: Frisbees, T-shirts, UC pens or decals, California pistachios or almonds, California scenic calendars, See’s Candies)
  • Preferred cold medicine
  • Lan cable for internet in dorms

Climate and Dress

The climate in Korea is temperate, with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot with high levels of humidity. However, Koreans dress fashionably and value their sense of decorum. Despite hot and humid conditions in the summer, provocative clothing is inappropriate in public. Plan for periods of heavy rain and monsoons.
It normally snows in the winter and the average temperature is about 23°F. Winter clothing can be purchased for reasonable prices in Seoul.
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget. Program fees are subject to change.
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.


  • Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
  • Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.

Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:

If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions.
Handling Money Abroad
Before leaving the U.S., change some money into Korean won at the airport. Besides providing an opportunity to become familiar with the currency, the funds will be useful for snacks, transportation, and unexpected purchases upon arrival.


Several major U.S. banks maintain branches in Seoul. Check with your home bank to see what services may be provided. Various services are also available from other international banks in downtown Seoul. Inform your bank that you will be using your ATM card internationally to avoid a hold on your account.
Students can open an account at Woori Bank on campus, as it is one of the major banks in Korea. It is in the basement of the Student Union Building. Its ATMs are widely available both on campus and throughout the city. There is no monthly charge for maintaining a bank account, and no fee or deposit required to open one. To open an account, you need a valid passport. You can go directly to the bank and open an account any time during office hours (9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). Telegraphic transfers can be made from a home bank account in the U.S. to a Woori account for a fee. Personal checks cannot be cashed at the Woori Bank, although travelers checks and international checks are accepted. An advantage of using Woori Bank is that you can use your Yonsei student ID card as a debit card.
If you are planning to use a credit or debit card, check with your home bank to see if your card will be compatible with machines in Korea. If you plan on withdrawing money from your U.S. account, you will need to use a global ATM; there are two on campus and many can be easily found off campus in subway stations and convenience stores. Check with your bank to determine the fees involved with international services.
Another option would be a Charles Schwab account because they will reimburse you for any ATM fees incurred. 


Checks are not commonly used in Korea. It can take up to two months for personal checks to clear the bank and you will be charged a separate transaction fee, even after a local bank account has been established.
Travelers checks can be exchanged at money exchange offices, banks, and some tourist information centers. Your passport is required to exchange money.

Credit Cards

Major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club, and American Express are widely accepted in many restaurants and department stores in Seoul, but not in small shops. It may be possible to withdraw cash using a credit card through the global ATMs located throughout the city. Before departure, check with your credit card companies to see what services are available and the fees involved with international services.
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
UCEAP students suggest taking a laptop.
Yonsei University has computer labs in most buildings. The computer lab in the dormitory is open from 6:00 a.m. to midnight. Each room in the dormitory has Internet access through a LAN network.
Internet cafés such as PC Bang are inexpensive and widely available throughout Korea.
All UCEAP students purchase a cell phone upon arrival. Cell phone service branch offices are found everywhere in Seoul, even on the Yonsei campus. After receiving an immigration card, you can obtain a cell phone.
For the summer program, you can find cell phone companies that offer a prepaid rental phone or SIM cards​. Cell phone rental services are also available at the Incheon International Airport. If you are not sure where to rent a phone, attend First Step to Korea (one of Yonsei’s orientation programs for exchange students) for advice on how and where to rent a phone on campus.
EAP alumni report getting in touch with friends and family in the US using a variety of resources:
  • WhatsApp
  • International calling cards
  • magicJack
  • MSN or online messenger
  • Facebook
The Before Babel Brigade is a volunteer organization for non-Korean speakers who need help communicating. Call 1588-5644 and press 1 for an English-speaking volunteer. 
Mail & Shipments
Housing & Meals
Where Will I Live?
You can choose where you will live. There are two on-campus choices at Yonsei University. International House (called I-House) and SK Global House are owned by Yonsei University but are managed by a private company. On-campus housing is provided on a first-come/first-served basis by application and prepayment before arrival (even for financial aid students).
If you decide to live off campus, Yonsei University and the UCEAP Study Center cannot assist you with housing arrangements. It is your responsibility to research all options and understand the leasing terms. Popular off-campus choices for UCEAP students include living with relatives or off-campus housing such as DMC Ville.  Homestays are not common in Korea.

I-House and SK Global House (on campus)

I-House and SK Global House are located in the northeast corner of campus, next to the Yonsei East Gate, and provide housing for over 800 students. There are floors for both graduate and undergraduate students and separate wings for women and men. During the summer the I-House is used for international students only. During the fall and spring terms Korean and international students live in I-House, providing a truly global atmosphere.
Rooms have a Western-style bed, closet, bookcase, desk set, air-conditioner, heated floor, and small refrigerator (single room only). The dorms have two‑prong power outlets (220 volt). To use 110 volt equipment, you need to buy a converter (available for purchase in the convenience store near the dorms). Every room is equipped with LAN connections for Internet use; however, LAN cables are not provided (also available for purchase at the student union or in the convenience store near the dorms). The dorms are considered safe as they utilize an ID card key system for enhanced security. There are security guards and surveillance cameras to provide further security and ensure that I-House regulations are upheld.
Amenities include a food court, 24 hour convenience store, coffee shop, flower shop, nail salon and copy shop. Coin laundry is also available. Basic linens are provided, but you will need to pack or purchase towels. More information on room rates, types (including photographs), and facilities can be found on the on-campus housing’s website.
Early check-in is not permitted. If you arrive prior to the official move-in date, make hotel reservations or arrangements with family and friends. Yonsei has a list of recommended temporary accommodations close to campus on their website.
The demand for summer housing is high. Rooms are reserved on a first-come/ first-served basis. Complete an online housing application as soon as you receive your admission number from Yonsei.
You are responsible for directly paying the housing fee by wire transfer. Housing fees for the first term are due prior to arrival in Korea. We recommend that you request wire transfers in person at your bank. Even financial aid recipients will need to secure housing before their first disbursement.
You will be required to sign a housing contract to complete the housing application. Any student who violates regulations may be dismissed from the housing assignment without a refund, may be dismissed from Yonsei University, and as a result would be withdrawn from the UCEAP Korea program. Examples of housing regulations include prohibited use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs, smoking, and visitation between the men’s and the women’s floors (which is regarded as a very serious matter in Korean culture). For security reasons, guests (including family members) are not allowed in the dormitories.
Quick breakdown of the difference between I-House and SK Global House:
SK Global House
Double Rooms
Single and double rooms
Limited number of facilities, but have access to SK Global House facilities
More facilities
Communal shower/bathroom on each floor
Shower/bathroom in each room
Communal lounge with gas cooker, sink, and refrigerator on each floor Communal kitchen area in basement
Key card system to access facilities Key card system to access facilities
Close proximity to classes
Close proximity to classes
Renovated in 2010 Opened in 2010
Capacity 232 students Capacity 585 students (4 spaces for students with disabilities)


If you arrange your own off-campus housing, you may want to consider boarding homes or hasooks. There are several close to campus. Hasooks offer single occupancy rooms with shared bathrooms and common areas. While the amenities of hasooks can vary, most include Internet access, television service, and utilities.  If you are interested in this type of housing, arrive early to research the options. Since it is hard to find hasooks on the Internet, you are expected to visit them in person and negotiate with owners in Korean.


Goshiwons are tiny rooms only furnished with a small bed and desk. Although they are limited in space, they are generally less expensive than hasooks. You can easily find goshiwons in the Shinchon area, and they are recommended for temporary housing during the break.
The housing fees do not include a meal plan. For more details, refer to the Student Budget on the UCEAP website.
Meal plans are not provided at Yonsei University. There are several cafeterias around the campus and many kinds of restaurants are near campus. On-campus cafeterias located in the International House, New Millennium Hall, and the Korean Language Institute building are most frequented by international students. They provide both Korean and Western-style food (e.g., bibimbap, soondubu, curry rice, and hamburgers), as well as Korean traditional cakes, toast, ramen, gimbap, and udong. Coffee and cake are available at the International House, Severance Hospital, and Miwoo Hall.
Other low-cost places to eat are located in the surrounding Shinchon area. There are two department stores with grocery sections in the basement connected to the Shinchon subway exit. The Shinchon neighborhood also has many restaurants, including both Western-style and Korean food. Several restaurants provide 24-hour delivery service to the dorms. There are also food vendors along the streets.
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Criminal charges and hefty fines may be imposed on anyone involved in a traffic accident. Traffic fatalities per driver are significantly higher than in the US. Do not operate a vehicle while abroad, including motorbikes. In all accidents involving an automobile and a pedestrian or motorcycle, the driver of the automobile, regardless of citizenship, is presumed to be at fault. There are many forms of public transportation available in Seoul.

Public Transportation

Most forms of transportation in South Korea are reliable and relatively secure. Threats include petty crime, particularly at night or during rush hours, and traffic accidents, which occasionally occur on intercity and local buses.

Road Safety

Korea’s roads are generally well paved and traffic signals are functional. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes without signaling, running red lights, aggressive bus drivers, and weaving motorcyclists.

Ferry Safety

  • Make sure there is a life jacket for your personal use.
  • Remain seated. The vessel can move and sway if water conditions change.
  • Locate the exits.
  • Avoid travel during inclement weather.
  • If you board a vessel that you feel is overcrowded or unsafe, disembark immediately.
  • Is the public address system functioning?
  • Do not go on deck in bad weather.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Motorcyclists sometimes drive on the sidewalks. 
  • Drivers of all types of vehicles do not always yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks.
  • Use pedestrian underpasses and overpasses where available.
Extracurricular Activities
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate into the community. Join clubs, sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer with local organizations, attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles, and get the most out of your time abroad!
Yonsei's Global Lounge contains various resources for international students. It serves as a hub where students gather and interact, and as a focal point for cultural activities, language exchange, and clubs for international students. It has televisions, computer terminals with Internet access, and study areas.  

Cultural Activities

The Study Center has information about cultural activities and recommends you get a listing of current events from the Korea Ministry of Tourism. Also, check the Royal Asiatic Society-Korea Branch (RASKB) for activities in English as well as resources for learning about Korean history and culture. They also provide lectures and tours to other cities in Korea and Asia that may be difficult to arrange on your own.


Korea celebrates a number of events and festivals throughout the year. Go to for information.


National newspapers in English, The Korea Herald and The Korea Times, are available at many newsstands. Bookstores typically have limited sections with popular books and magazines in English. Yonsei’s library and Global Lounge offer a variety of publications in English. 


English-speaking religious services are available in Seoul. As a Christian-affiliated university, Yonsei offers chapel services, Bible studies, and religious retreats.

Performing Arts

There are many venues in Seoul for theater performances, live music, and cinema. You can enjoy plays, dance performances, and music ranging from classical to modern pop culture. For information on events, visit:


There is a wide array of goods for sale in Korea. Many students like to shop at the local markets such as namdaemun, dongdaemun, Myongdong, Itawon, and the EWHA Womans University area.

Sports and Outdoor Activities

You can participate in numerous sports and outdoor activities, including hiking, martial arts, swimming, and tennis. There are sport fields and a recreation center on campus as well as inexpensive private gyms in the Shinchon area. Also, you can hike Yonsei Mountain behind the New Millennium Hall.

Language Study

The Study Center arranges activities to assist with Korean language acquisition, including a Korean Speaking Club and a Language Buddy Program. The Language Buddy Program will pair you with a current Yonsei University student who will be coming to UC as a future reciprocity student.


​The Study Center’s volunteer club, EAP Angels, welcomes UCEAP students who are willing to volunteer on a regular basis. In this club, you may volunteer with Severance Children’s Hospital School, with major police stations’ culture classes for North Korean refugees, as an English teacher, or in other activities that may be arranged. More information will be available during the UCEAP on-site orientation.
Students with Disabilities
​While in the Republic of Korea, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from what is found in the US. ROK law mandates access to transportation, communication and public buildings for persons with disabilities, and the Korean government continues efforts to improve accessibility and accommodation for persons with disabilities.
Metro (subway) cars and buses in Seoul offer priority seating for the disabled. Most metro stations have escalators and elevators. Metro platforms include Braille inscriptions (in Korean) for the information and safety of individuals with visual disabilities. You are encouraged to contact individual bus companies and subway associations for more information. Cross walks typically have audio signals. These facilities can be found in certain places across the city, but they do not exist everywhere. Older buildings and streets are generally less accessible to individuals with disabilities. 
It is important to notify UCEAP Systemwide early if you have a disability.
For more information:
Travel Sign-out Form

Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?

You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account. 
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the US), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you. 
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.

Travel within Korea

It is relatively easy to plan your travel from Seoul to other locales in Korea. There are many excellent travel books available.
Past UCEAP participants have found the following to be particularly useful: Lonely Planet Korea, Lonely Planet Seoul, and Guidebook for the International Traveler by the Ministry of Tourism.
The Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) can be reached in the U.S. and Canada by calling (800) 868-7567 and has a useful website in English. The KTO also operates a phone information service in the Republic of Korea, which traveling or resident U.S. citizens in Korea can reach by calling 1330 (02-1330 from cell phones) anywhere in the country. The phone service has English speakers and is available 24 hours every day throughout the year. Read the U.S. Department of State Background Notes on South Korea for additional information.
Working Abroad
​Since you will be in Korea on a tourist visa, you are not permitted to work.
LGBTIQ Students
Same-sex marriages or relationships are not legally recognized.  Korean citizens can legally change their gender identity.
Korea remains a conservative country in regards to LGBT issues. However, the LGBT community and awareness of LGBT issues are becoming more visible, particularly in Seoul.  Korea has an increasing number of LGBT-oriented clubs, festivals and non-governmental organizations that advocate for LGBT issues. 
The ROK National Human Rights Commission Act prohibits discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation.  However, there are no laws specifying punishment for persons found to have discriminated against LGBT persons and societal discrimination exists against LGBT persons and persons with HIV/AIDS.

Risk mitigation strategies

  • Exercise caution during LGBT Pride events and festivals. 
  • Be cautious when engaging others in conversations about sexuality or LGBT issues.
  • Avoid public displays of affection.
  • If caught in a potentially violent situation, immediately seek shelter.
​For more information,
Field Trips
The Study Center offers a field trip each term. Check the UCEAP Seoul Study Center website regularly for news and updates. The activities arranged by the Study Center are free and exclusively for UCEAP students. These field trips offer great opportunities to explore Korea and meet other UCEAP students. You have to sign up in advance for the UCEAP field trip during the designated sign-up period. It is important to check your e-mail and the UCEAP Seoul Study Center website often so you do not miss the chance to explore amazing life in Korea.
In addition to the study center field trip, Yonsei International Summer School coordinates a three-day field trip around South Korea prior to the summer program. It is designed to acquaint students with historic, scenic, and modern Korea. The field trip is optional and the cost is not included in your UCEAP fees. Reservations must be made in advance. More information is provided on the Yonsei website.
UCEAP Insurance

Know Before You Go

As a UCEAP participant, you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy anywhere in the world. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations. Read details in Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance. You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process or about non-medical claims.
Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.

For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status

Contact ACI at

Personal Property Insurance
Consider having additional protection for your property, as you may experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage. Review the policy carefully before departure to determine if it is adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss. 
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Staying Healthy
University of California does not make any representation of warranty with respect to the names of medical providers referenced on this Staying Healthy chapter. The names listed are only a point of reference as the University of California does not recommend or endorse any medical provider on this list.
Local Medical Facilities
A high level of medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available in Seoul. Adequate medical care is available in other areas. However, not all doctors and staff in major urban areas are proficient in English.
The Yonsei University Student Medical Center is located on the second floor of the Student Union Building for primary medical treatment. More information is available on the Yonsei University Health System website.
During regular business hours, English-speaking doctors are available at the Severance International Health Care Center, which is part of the Yonsei University Student Medical Center system. You will be seen on an outpatient basis and referred to the appropriate department of the hospital if necessary. For emergencies outside of regular business hours, go to the emergency room at Severance Hospital.
The Seoul Global Center for Foreigners operates a 24-hour Medical Referral Service (MRS). Medically trained English-speaking staff provides information and recommendations on medical facilities and services.
Korea has a very good hospital emergency response system. Korean hospitals generally do not accept medical insurance, and generally expect advance payment for services in cash or credit cards.
Korean ambulances do not carry sophisticated medical equipment and the ambulance personnel do not have the same level of emergency medical training as in the US. However, ambulances operated by the fire department (dial 119) will respond quickly and take patients to the nearest hospital.
Physical Health

Know Before You Go

Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
Food and beverage precautions are essential as contaminated food or drinks can cause diseases. Raw food should generally be avoided. Water in Korea is unsafe. It is subject to municipal, industrial, and agricultural pollutants. Municipal water treatment systems are inadequate and obsolete. Drink bottled water. Refer to the US CDC Resources for Travelers page on Food and Water Safety.
Unless it is a medical emergency, be prepared to pay upfront and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance company. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits and coverage information contact ACI at For instructions to submit a claim for refund consideration refer to How to Submit an Accident/Sickness Claim. Review the Insurance tab for further information.
Prescription Medications


Research and Resources:

  • Find out if your prescription is legal and licensed in your UCEAP country.  There are many resources you can check: The US embassy website for the country where you will be studying; the foreign embassy for the country where you will be studying; regulations from official foreign government sites; the International Narcotics Control Board (link below).
  • As a UCEAP participant you are covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance. Review the UCEAP Travel Insurance terms of coverage. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage.
  • Refer to UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, specifically the Health and Insurance sections.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor as least 3-6 months before departure to discuss your medication and treatment plan:

  • Ask if you can get a prescription to last the entire duration of your program. Consider that you may need to fill your prescription abroad.
  • Obtain a letter from the prescribing physician on letterhead indicating your diagnosis, treatment, medication regimen, and generic name(s) of medication(s) as brand names vary around the world. This will be for passing through Customs and for refilling abroad.
  • Your doctor may need to change your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage.
  • Discuss how to adjust dosage to account for different time zones.


Airport Security

  • Keep medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor's name, generic/brand name, and exact dosage. 
  • Carry copies of original US prescriptions and carry the letter from your doctor (see above).
  • Travel with medications in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill form. Consult the US Transportation Security Administration if your medication is liquid.

In Country

  • If you need to refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor as US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. Take with you the letter from your doctor (see above). Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventative care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance. However, your campus or private insurance plan may cover it.
  • To purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must pay up front and submit a claim for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start date of your program).
  • Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, and the Insurance tab on your pre-departure checklist for more insurance information.
  • For specific information about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage, contact,


  • Two classes of medicines - narcotics and psychotropics - are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that affects the central nervous system and the potential for drug abuse.  The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine). Psychotropic medications are used to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions. These medications are often highly regulated.
  • If you have a prescription containing controlled substances, check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g. Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal or unlicensed in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.

Before Departure - Carrying Prescription Drugs into the Republic of Korea

Information on Controlled Substances

Certain prescription drugs are considered controlled substances and subject to the regulations established by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) and the Korean Customs Service. The procedures outlined below for importing/shipping medications or hand-carrying medications into the Republic of Korea are subject to change without notice. We recommend that you plan in advance and confirm the procedures with the relevant Korean authorities before bringing any drugs into the Republic of Korea.

  • For narcotic medications, you must submit a written application to the Narcotics Control Division of the MFDS before traveling.
  • Prescription amphetamines are illegal in Korea. Ask your doctor to switch your medication. Otherwise, you will need to get an advance permission from the MFDS.
  • For medications that do not contain narcotics or amphetamines, up to six bottles of medication (or equivalent to a three-month supply) will be permitted into Korea, provided they are for personal use only.  The Korean Customs Service at Incheon Airport has authority over which medications will be allowed to be carried into the country.
Ministry of Food and Drug Safety
Tel: 043-729-2800
​Pharmacies are plentiful and first-rate, and most prescribed medications, except psychotropic medications, can be obtained with a local prescription. Medicines often have a different brand name than in the US.
Mental Health
Severance Hospital at Yonsei University provides mental health care services. You may go directly to the appropriate division or be referred through the Severance International Health Care Center.


Consider your host country. Many countries do not have adequate resources. How will you manage your mental health while studying abroad, whether or not you have a pre-existing condition? 
If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen so a local physician can assess your needs.

If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. Traveling through customs with medications for personal use can be problematic in countries where those medications are prohibited. Examples include stimulants frequently used for attention deficit disorders, such as amphetamine, methylphenidate, and narcotics. Prohibited substances vary depending on the country. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.​

Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.


  • Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
  • The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration.  Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at
Health Risks
Food Allergies

​Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated.

  • Talk with your doctor before departure to discuss how to manage your allergy.
  • Research the local cuisine. Learn the names of foods that cause allergies in the local language.
  • Wear a medical alert tag with instructions in English/local language.
  • Carry medications to treat surprise reactions.
  • Tell others about your food allergy.

For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter.​

Air Quality
Staying Safe
While traveling, you are subject to the local laws even if you are a US citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own and it is very important to know what is legal and what is not. If you break local laws while abroad, your US passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution, and the US Embassy cannot get you out of jail.

​Korean Peninsula

An armistice agreement, monitored by the United Nations, has maintained general peace on the Korean peninsula since 1953.  Tensions occasionally flare up because of provocative acts by the North Korea, including ballistic missile and nuclear tests and limited armed incursions into ROK-held territory. Some provocations have escalated into geographically limited skirmishes.  South Korea routinely conducts military training exercises and civil defense drills. North Korea often issues strongly-worded and threatening messages, frequently in connection with these exercises.
Minimize Risk

Safety is our concern but it is your responsibility. Be proactive in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Have an action plan.

With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Observe and assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think about how you can lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel. Label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of the consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.


Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers, identify safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at high speed.

Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.

Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety

  • Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel.
  • Observe and assess your surroundings. Learn to recognize danger.
  • Trust your feelings. If you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
  • When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.
  • Drink responsibly. Know your limits. In many countries, beer, wine and liquor contain a higher alcohol content than similar products in the US. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
  • Practice the buddy system. Choose your buddy wisely. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call locally if you are in an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?

Registration with the local US Embassy or Consulate

Register online with the US embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service for US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.

Registration with the UCEAP Security Provider

You will be automatically registered with WorldAware, the University of California security provider. You will receive important security and informational messages about local conditions for your program country.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, for more information. Access the US Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Crime & Prevention


The crime rate in the Republic of Korea is low. The crimes that occur most frequently (e.g., pick-pocketing, purse snatching, assault, hotel room and residential crime) occur more often in major metropolitan areas, tourist areas, and crowded markets. Please use caution in all crowded entertainment, nightlife, and shopping districts throughout Korea. Reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime victim by exercising the same type of security precautions you would take when visiting any large city in the US.
Avoid traveling alone at a night, or in poorly lit areas. Use only legitimate taxis, such as black Deluxe cabs, or public transportation. Travel in a group. If you are the victim of a crime while in Korea, immediately report the incident to UCEAP Study Center staff, local police, and the US embassy.

Drugs & Alcohol

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in the Republic of Korea are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences, heavy fines, and deportation at the end of their sentence.
US citizens in Korea have been arrested for past use of illegal drugs based on urine tests, hair samples, or other tests. Korean authorities frequently arrest US citizens on drug charges by scanning suspicious packages sent through the mail and by using information provided by other persons charged with drug possession or use.
Alcohol and cigarettes can be purchased by anyone over 19 years of age. There is high consumption of alcohol in the Korean nightlife culture. Alcohol affects your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. If you are drunk, your safety is compromised.
If you are out with someone new, consider how to keep yourself safe:
  • Make sure someone knows who you are meeting and where.
  • Have an exit strategy ready (such as a friend calling you).
  • Do not leave your drink unattended. Alcohol is the most common date rape drug.
  • Do not feel under pressure to drink until you are drunk.
Become familiar with the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy.
Civil Unrest


The Republic of Korea (ROK) is a modern democracy with active public political participation, and political demonstrations are common. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. Avoid demonstrations whenever possible, and exercise caution if you find yourself caught up in one.
Historically, Yonsei University has been the site of many student-organized protests, a practice that continues on a sporadic basis. If protests occur, you are advised to avoid the demonstration areas and to keep in close contact with the UCEAP Study Center staff.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Criminal charges and hefty fines may be imposed on anyone involved in a traffic accident. Traffic fatalities per driver are significantly higher than in the US. Do not operate a vehicle while abroad, including motorbikes. In all accidents involving an automobile and a pedestrian or motorcycle, the driver of the automobile, regardless of citizenship, is presumed to be at fault. There are many forms of public transportation available in Seoul.

Public Transportation

Most forms of transportation in South Korea are reliable and relatively secure. Threats include petty crime, particularly at night or during rush hours, and traffic accidents, which occasionally occur on intercity and local buses.

Road Safety

Korea’s roads are generally well paved and traffic signals are functional. Causes of accidents include excessive speed, frequent lane changes without signaling, running red lights, aggressive bus drivers, and weaving motorcyclists.

Ferry Safety

  • Make sure there is a life jacket for your personal use.
  • Remain seated. The vessel can move and sway if water conditions change.
  • Locate the exits.
  • Avoid travel during inclement weather.
  • If you board a vessel that you feel is overcrowded or unsafe, disembark immediately.
  • Is the public address system functioning?
  • Do not go on deck in bad weather.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Motorcyclists sometimes drive on the sidewalks. 
  • Drivers of all types of vehicles do not always yield to pedestrians in marked crosswalks.
  • Use pedestrian underpasses and overpasses where available.
Environmental Hazards
The Republic of Korea has only experienced very minor earthquakes with minimal or no damage in recent history. The monsoon season runs from June to August. Damages from flooding vary from year to year, but flooding is a problem primarily in rural areas.
UCEAP Travel Warning

North Korea

​The threat of a border conflict between North and South Korea exists. It is against the law for South Koreans to cross the border into North Korea. Most heightened incidents between the two countries are low-level military skirmishes, often naval. An international military force is stationed on the so-called Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), although mostly by US or South Korean personnel.
  • The US does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea.
  • North Korea has imposed heavy fines and long prison sentences with hard labor on persons who entered the country without the proper documentation. Even with the proper documentation, visitors may be subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and may not receive appropriate legal protection against inhumane treatment.
  • UCEAP restricts anyone traveling to The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea or the DPRK). 
  • North Korean security personnel may regard as espionage unauthorized or unescorted travel inside North Korea and unauthorized attempts to speak directly with North Korean citizens.  
Korean Civil Emergency Exercises and Advice
​The South Korean authorities sometimes hold civil emergency exercises. Sirens sound, transport stopped and some people are asked to take shelter indoors, including in designated metro stations or basements. Shelters in Seoul are marked with a special symbol. Participation by foreign nationals in these exercises is not obligatory but you should follow any instructions by local authorities during any exercises.

Emergency Ready Smartphone Application

The Republic of Korea’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has released the English language version of its “Emergency Ready” emergency preparedness app for smartphones. While designed for Android or Apple smartphones, it also works on tablets and iPads. 
Both the Korean and English versions of the app are free. You can make emergency 119 calls, search for nearby emergency shelters based on the GPS coordinates of the device’s location, and to view educational videos related to First Aid, CPR, how to use fire extinguishers, etc. 
For more information, refer to the US Embassy in Seoul, Disaster Preparedness.
Fire Safety
Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country, as they differ drastically around the world.
  • Locate the nearest emergency exists and make sure they are not obstructed.
  • Know the sound of the fire alarm; not all alarms will sound the same.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. The Fire Safety Foundation has  a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. They will ship to your host country address.
  • Have an escape plan.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need in order to leave the building.

Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.

Fire - Dial 119
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
Assembly Points and Evacuation Plan
The UCEAP Study Center has designated assembly points at Yonsei University if there is an immediate threat and students need to move to another area for safety or evacuation. Assembly points and an evacuation plan will be reviewed with you during on-site orientation.
In the rare event that an evacuation would be necessary, the UCEAP security providers will work with you and the Study Center. Evacuation events, by their nature, are extremely chaotic and highly stressful. When there is sufficient warning, the evacuation will be staged, hopefully via commercial aircraft (to be determined). When there is no warning of civil disorder and an immediate evacuation becomes necessary, UCEAP students will be evacuated by the safest and most expeditious method available.
Once UCEAP Systemwide makes the decision, hopefully in consultation with the partner institution, UCEAP will notify parents and the students.
Given the hectic, confusing, and oftentimes quick pace of events around an evacuation, it is difficult to establish continuous communications will all students. Therefore, students, and UCEAP Systemwide officials have a shared responsibility for following closely time sensitive messages regarding an emergency evacuation.
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:

If you are in the US

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
If you are abroad
Carry the local emergency contact information at all times:
Police. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .112
Fire and ambulance. . . . . . . . . 119
Medical issues. . . . . . . . . . . . .1339
(If calling from a cell phone, first dial “02” before the number.)
If you do not speak Korean, you may be connected to an English-speaking interpreter. You can also dial 1330 for emergency interpretation services.

US Embassy in Seoul

The American Citizen Services (ACS) unit at the US Embassy in Seoul provides many services and information to US citizens. ACS maintains a list of the most recent security information for American citizens living in Korea. To view previous security information or sign up for notification messages via e-mail, visit their website.
US Embassy in Seoul, Korea
188 Sejong-daero, Jongno-gu
Seoul, Korea
Emergency phone: 011-82-2-397-4114
Severance International Clinic: (0)2-2228-5800
The University of California, in accordance with applicable Federal and State law and University policy, does not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.